Soft Conditions Equate Tough Scoring in Atlantic Regional

The NCCGA Atlantic fall semester kicked off this past weekend at the St. Jude Golf Club in Chicora, PA.  With a distance totaling over 6,600 yards and a rating of 73.8 and slope of 138, St. Jude proved to be a tough test to all of those competing. A total of six schools participated: University of Pittsburgh, West Virginia University, Youngstown State, Penn State, Duquense University, and Robert Morris University. 

The course had been drenched by rain over night Friday and Saturday and with the course this wet the course manager decided that lift, clean, and place would be the best option for the weekend.  Even with lift, clean, and place in affect and good weather in the 80’s on Saturday, only 4 players—Mason Short from WVU with a 76, Samuel Mosser from PSU with a 76, Zach Smith from YSU with a 77, and John Noftz with a 79—were able to break 80 on the par 70 course. The team scoring after day 1 was tightly contested at the top with Pitt leading with a 405 followed by WVU and PSU at 414. 

Sunday morning was another great day of weather with temps in the 70’s, but with a stronger breeze, scoring seemed as if it could be a bit more difficult. In fact, the exact opposite happened nine players were able to break 80 with the low round over 74 once again coming in by Mason Short from West Virginia the overall winner finishing at 150 (+10). It looked as if a playoff would be necessary before Mason’s group finished as John Noftz and Zach Smith were tied at 154.  Mason put these doubts to rest as his 74 was the low round of the weekend highlighted by two birdies.

The team competition did not have as near of a finish as Pitt came up with a great final round shooting 396 led by Stephen Kelly and Matt Pulleo shooting 78 and 77 respectively. Pitt finished with a team score of 801.  The battle for second and third was very close as West Virginia came in with a 406 on Sunday to over take Penn State for second finishing at 820 overall. Coming in third for what could be an important team point was Youngstown State who shot 411 on Sunday to finish at 828 just three shots ahead of Robert Morris.  The top 8 finishers were Mason Short (+10), John Noftz and Zach Smith (+14), Kevin Oresick (+17), Stephen Kelly and Matt Pulleo (+18), and Mark Bondi and Garrett Damich (+20). 

It was a great weekend that had great weather and was topped off with some great golf.  It will be interesting to see if Pitt can hold on to the lead in the points standings (6) over West Virginia (3) and Youngstown State (1) at Toftrees resort on October 25 and 26.  With a trip to Barefoot Resort on the line these schools will all try to bring their “A” game to the course.